Coconut & Date Protein Bites

As part of Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Test Kitchen Program, I made this month’s recipe, Coconut & Date Protein Bites.

These little bite-size snacks are gluten-free, full of coconut flavor and have a hint of sweetness, without any added sugar.

Original Recipe, via Food & Nutrition Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup siggi’s Vanilla 0% Yogurt
  • 1 cup Medjool Dates, chopped (about 12 to 13 large dates)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds, hulled
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut plus more for rolling

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency. We like keeping the pieces larger for a crunchier ball.
  2. When desired consistency is reached, form 1-ounce balls then roll in the shredded coconut to coat.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy as a quick snack!

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 18 bites

Recipe Test Notes

I wanted to increase the protein of these little bites, so I included some hemp protein powder. While I was preparing the bites, I found that the mixture was extremely dry, probably due to adding the dry protein powder, so I added more Siggi’s yogurt. Since it was still dry, I added 1/4 cup melted coconut oil to bind the mixture a little bit better. I chose coconut oil because I wanted to boost the coconut flavor of the bites. It worked well!

Jen’s Final Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5.3 oz cup of Siggi’s Coconut 2% Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup Medjool Dates, chopped (about 12 to 13 large dates)
  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted, sliced almonds
  • 1 packet (or 4 T ) of Hemp Pro 70 protein powder
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency.
  2. When desired consistency is reached, form 1-ounce balls (I didn’t roll them in coconut because they weren’t sticky enough)
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy as a quick protein-packed snack!

Yield: 15 bites

 

A bit about the nutritional benefits of the ingredients

Coconut flour 

Coconut flour is a great gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour. It has a hint of coconut flavor and is considered an excellent source of fiber with 6g of fiber per 2 tablespoons. It is also high in iron!

Coconut oil

High in lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride, coconut oil can be substituted for butter in vegan recipes, but it is still high in saturated fat, so don’t overdo it!

Siggi’s 2% Icelandic-style yogurt

Siggi’s 2% yogurt provides 170 kcal per container, with 5 g of fat and 15 g of protein, with no added sugars! It is also a good source of calcium.

Hemp protein powder

Four tablespoons of this plant-based protein powder provides 130 kcal, 3.5 g of fat, and 15 g of protein.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acid–or alpha-linolenic acid–which help to raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol!) which promotes heart health.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are another great source of omega-3 fatty acid! They are also a great source of fiber and protein. Flax seeds also contain Vitamin B1, Manganese, Magnesium and Phosphorus. Magnesium and Phosphorus both play an important role in bone health.

Dates

Adding dates to baked goods provide a sweetness without adding sugar. The are a good source of fiber and are fat-free! 1.5 oz of dates also contain 280 mg of Potassium.

Almonds

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats (the good kind!) which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also a good source of the antioxidant Vitamin E! Almonds also contain a lot of magnesium and potassium, both of which are important for heart and muscle function.

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Exploring the Huyck Preserve

Yesterday Jenna and I took Zahra to Hyuck Preserve located about 45 minutes South West of Albany in Rensselaerville. We parked at the Pond Hill Road parking lot to hike the Lake Trail which is a nice loop around Myosotis Lake.

Eventually we came to the trail to the Rensselaerville Falls and went to the overlook.

We walked about 3.5 miles. There are a lot of other trails here that I’d like to come back and explore!

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Balanced Rocks at Pitchoff Mountain

Happy New Year! Yesterday my friend Margaret and I hiked our first hike of 2017, Balanced Rocks at Pitchoff Mountain in the Adirondacks. Located right across from the most popular high peak, Cascade Mountain, Pitchoff is an easy hike with rewarding views. We left Exit 9 at about 7:40 and headed up to Keene. We started hiking around 10am.

 

Jordan and I are dogsitting Zahra, so I brought her along for the hike.

The trail starts to climb right away, but flattens out for some time, then climbs pretty steeply until hitting the Pitchoff Ridge. We brought enough gear for a high peak (always good to be prepared) and over-dressed since we thought it was colder out than it was. Thankfully we could remove layers!  We only went as far as the Balanced Rocks, but we had the option to continue on along the ridge to the summit of Pitchoff.

A great view of Cascade and Cascade Falls

Algonquin in the middle, with Colden to its left, Marcy on the far left

Another view of Marcy, Colden and Algonquin

It was an unusually warm day yesterday, so it was nice to sit for a while and enjoy our snacks with a view.

 

We could see the hikers on top of Cascade. It was probably a bit colder up there.

 

The trail was interesting. The wind had completely blown off the snow on some sections, while some were almost knee deep. Since it changed back and forth between ice, frozen ground, slush and powdery snow, we left our Kahtoolas on while our snowshoes stayed attached to our packs.

 

 

The hike to the Balanced Rocks was only about 1.5 miles. Since we took our time and wanted to get home at a decent hour, we decided to head back, arriving back at the car at about 1:30.

Balanced Rocks at Pitchoff Mountain
Distance ~4mi RT
Time 3 hrs, 30 min (including stops)
Ascent 740′
Gear 
Kahtoola microspikes, EMS Gore Tex Gaiters, Vasque Snowblime hiking boots, Smartwool socks w/liners, CAMP crampons (used only for 1 small icy section), Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes (not used), 1 L Hydroflask, 1 L Nalgene, Osprey Sirrus daypack, LL Bean sweater fleece down jacket, LL Bean Merino baselayer tights, EMS hiking pants, EMS Excel Thermo Hoodie, Marmot Snowqueen Jacket (removed after 5 min of hiking), Target gloves, Kelty trekking poles

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Christmas Eve Hike to Black Mountain

On Saturday my friend and I did a quick hike to Black Mountain near Lake George. The day started off nice, then it began to snow on our hike down from the mountain.

It felt like we were in a snow globe. The trail had a layer of snow on top of thick ice, making our Kahtoolas necessary, but an annoyance on the descent.  The snow kept forming balls of ice under our spikes.  It was my second time on Black and my second Winter Fire Tower! It was also a nice change to spend Christmas Eve hiking! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday.

Black Mountain Fire Tower
Distance 5.6 mi RT
Time 2 hrs, 40 min, including stops
Elevation 2,665′
Ascent 1,169′

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Adirondack Hiker’s Gift Guide – For Him

 1. GoPro Hero5 Session – We have this GoPro and we love it to record our hiking and mountain biking adventures!
2. Osprey Kamber 32 Backpack – This pack is made specifically for winter hiking or skiing. It has place to carry your snowshoes (or skis), a waterproof main compartment, an insulated harness sleeve for your hydration pack and also loops for your ice tools. If I actually decide to become a Winter 46er, I would definitely want this pack!
3. Stanley Stainless Steel Shot Glass Set – this set would be perfect to bring on that backpacking trip with friends.
4. Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest LED Hammock – Now this is just cool. Made for two with battery-powered LED lights, this hammock would be awesome for camping!
5. Original Buff – Every outdoor enthusiast needs a Buff. They can be used as a sun guard, scarf, hat, or neck gaiter. They also come in tons of awesome prints!
6. Princeton Tec Backcountry LED Light Kit – This kit comes with a flashlight, lantern and headlamp, all of which are great to have in your pack or when camping.
7. Yeti Rambler Colster – This Koozie is made of heavy-duty stainless steel and works with bottles and cans–another great thing to have when camping!
8. Garmin Montana 610 Handheld GPS – I don’t own a handheld GPS but if I did, I would want this one. Even though we shouldn’t depend on electronics in the backcountry, they are useful to have and this one has all the bells and whistles.
9. EMS Spindrift Gaiters – Gaiters are an awesome piece of gear for winter hiking. They also come in handy during the shoulder season when you are knee deep in mud on the trail (literally).
10. Kahtoola Microspikes – An absolute essential for winter hiking–never leave home without ’em.
11. EMS Roundtrip Full Zip Sweater – I have the women’s version of this fleece and it’s one of my favorite pieces of clothing! It’s warm and cozy and can be worn under a shell during a hike or looks great wearing around town.
12. MSR Miniworks EX Water Filter – I have this exact filter that I bring with me on backpacking trips and long day hikes. I love it and highly recommend it!

Again, I’m not affiliated with any of the above companies, but I have purchased many similar items and highly recommend them.

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